Smoky Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Empanadas

Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas

A few weeks ago, I told Sarah of Well Dined that all I wanted to do this Fall is bake, bake, bake, and I wondered whether she would mind eating nothing but cookies for lunch when we got together. She thoughtfully responded that we should make empanadas.

And after we made these, we congratulated ourselves over and over again because the filling is so delicious. I mean seriously, we were both sneaking spoonfuls of filling as we assembled the empanadas, and licking our fingers when we were done. It’s amazing.

You should make yourself a batch of empanadas right away, so you will know what I’m talking about!

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Cheesy Spinach and Green Chile Enchiladas

Cheesy Spinach and Green Chile Enchiladas

Remember how I hatched a plot to eat greens at every meal?

Yeah…desserts kind of got in the way of that healthy plan. But you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I am still trying to focus on the greenery as much as possible!

So this month for the Secret Recipe Club challenge, I decided to take a recipe for green chile enchiladas—which sounded heavenly—and green them up!

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Quinoa and Chickpea Tortilla Soup

Quinoa Chickpea Tortilla Soup

When I was a kid, my mom used to make this amazing white chili. It was a football season/New Year’s Eve tradition for us.

My brother and I totally loved it, because we always ate this chili with a mountain of Cool Ranch Doritos (old school flavors are best, baby) and an avalanche of shredded cheddar cheese on top. I remember my dad crushing the chips into little shards with his big bear hands, like they were nothing, and piling them into our bowls.

One of the great tragedies of being a vegetarian now is that for years, I haven’t had that chips-in-my-soup experience.

Until I stumbled across a vegetarian recipe for tortilla soup!

This soup is so tasty, and it just gets better and better with time. I actually recommend eating it left over (is that weird?) because the flavors keep building.

Just like the nostalgia.

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Stovetop Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)

Stovetop Elotes

A few weeks ago, a friend told me about this amazing way to eat corn on the cob.

At first, I was only half listening…unlike most people, I don’t get too excited when ears of corn start to overflow from farmer’s stands or grocery store aisles. It’s just corn.

But, as she told me about this corn, my ears perked up. You put mayonnaise on corn? What? (You know how I always like things that sound too weird to be true…)

I got just curious enough to buy a few ears and let them sit in the fridge for a week. But my grill is not currently at my house. And it’s always raining anyway. And mayonnaise on corn can’t be doing anyone any nutritional favors.

Finally, mostly in an effort not to waste the corn I had already bought, I decided to “grill” my corn on a cast-iron pan on the stovetop. As I licked the spoon after stirring together what turned out to be the. most. delicious! sauce in the whole entire world, I knew I would never be satisfied with corn any other way.

Make this corn. There are no more excuses. You must make elotes.

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Shrimp Tostadas

Shrimp TostadaThis is just the kind of quick meal I love to throw together when I’ve been having a busy day and I want to get dinner on the table without a lot of fuss.

A tostada is kind of like a taco salad that you pick up and eat with your hands. It can be gloriously messy, but let’s just call that an eating experience, okay? I love the spiced shrimp with a kick of lime. I love the mountain of veggies and cheese piled on top.

Bring a napkin and a fork, and dig in.

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Homemade Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning Mix

Have you ever made your own taco seasoning?

It’s kind of glorious.

Yes, it’s true: I have a penchant for making things from scratch that I could easily have bought in the store…but in this case, I really do think it’s worth it. Not only will you avoid totally unnecessary ingredients, like gums and gluten, but you if you make your own taco seasoning, you can customize the flavors and spice level!

Plus, your friends will be impressed. And isn’t it a beautiful thing when someone compliments your cooking (and you can brag that you even made the taco seasoning yourself)?

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Mexican Sweet Corn Soup

Mexican Sweet Corn Soup

Leftovers are my kryptonite.

I never really know what to do with them! Sure, I sat down to plenty of “leftover nights” when I was growing up, but we ate a fairly meat-and-potatoes style diet, so even if the leftovers were mismatched, they still made sense together in their original forms.

Leftover nights around our house are a little strange. One person is eating two different kinds of pizza while the other person is eating a salad burrito. The side dishes are really my personal nightmare…I so often eat one-dish meals that when there is a leftover side dish, I hardly know what to do with it. What I need to learn is how to look at the shelves stacked with cooked veggies and baggies of extra ingredients and imagine what they could become…something else entirely.

My husband, on the other hand, knows just what to do with leftovers (when he’s not ignoring them, that is): turn them into soup. Which—after I yanked a bag of leftover boiled corn on the cob out of the fridge and declared, “We are never going to eat this! I am just going to throw it away!”—is exactly how this corn soup was born.

And it’s so good! It is exactly the kind of thing I would have planned specifically to make, gone to the farmer’s market to shop for…and then found myself wondering what to do with those two extra ears of corn I had to buy “just in case.”

Well. Baby steps.

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Pico de Gallo

Homegrown Pico de Gallo

I so want to tell you about how awesome this pico de gallo is, and how I grew some of the tomatoes and all of the green peppers.

But first, I have to tell you that while I was making this delicious, amazingly fresh summery salsa, my son was eating crayons.

CRAYONS! I cannot get the child to eat a fresh fruit or vegetable to save his life, but crayons are yummy. What!? And he was so sneaky about it, too, just sitting in his chair and pretending to color quietly whenever I poked my head in to look at him, and taking huge chunks out of yellow and green as soon as I turned back to chopping.

Motherhood, friends…motherhood. I don’t know what I’m doing.

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Crockpot Dulce de Leche

Crockpot Dulche de Leche

I tend to resist buying things if there is the slightest chance I could make them at home. Things that are delicious and definitely need to be a part of my life.

Things like dulce de leche.

But then, often, I get scared or distracted, and before I know it two years have passed and I still haven’t made my own dulce de leche! And, of course, buying a jar of it in the grocery store would just be cheating. So whole years have passed that did not include drizzling dulce de leche on my ice creams and cakes and scones…and eating it by the spoonful.

What on earth was I thinking!?

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Squash Blossom Quesadillas

Squash Blossom Quesadillas

A while back, I mentioned that I am growing acorn squash this year! I have a little container vegetable garden on my porch, and almost everything I am growing is thriving.

Except, sadly, for my acorn squash. It all started out brilliantly: I had four plants that were green and leafy and growing like gangbusters. About a month ago, a crazy amount of blossoms started opening up and I got pretty excited for some squash to reveal itself. But…only two of the blossoms on all four of the plants sprouted squashes. After a while of not seeing any more little babies growing, I mentally threw up my hands and decided to start harvesting the blossoms. (Maybe that was my mistake? Who knows.)

Homegrown Acorn Squash BlossomsImmediately after harvesting my first bunch of blossoms, the plants started yellowing. I am not an experienced gardener, people. I was at a loss. Eventually I found that one of the vines was being eaten from within by a worm—and there went one of my two baby acorn squash (augh!). I still can’t figure out what’s wrong with the others.

So. Believe me when I tell you that these quesadillas were a labor of love. With these, I used up the last blossoms my poor, sad acorn squash seem like they are going to produce.

What a tasty way to go out!

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